Recently signed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth participated in his second day of practice on Friday and while head coach Raheem Morris said the 10-year veteran will be on the field Sunday against Houston, he would not specify how large that role will be.
“We will see,” Morris said from the halls of One Buccaneer Place. “You just have got to get him out there and let him go play. He’s done a nice job in practice this week taking all the reps that we required him to take. He’s done a nice job of going out there and being very physical. He looks to be in pretty good shape as far as a man that size. So we’ve got to kind of go see. Tampa is a little bit of a different place. It’s going to be 80 degrees and we’ve got to see where he is and how well he can get through and how well he can play there.”
Haynesworth is listed on the Buccaneers’ official roster at 6-foot-6, 350-pounds and issues surrounding weight and conditioning have frequently followed him since his time with the Washington Redskins from 2009-2010.
In his limited face-to-face time with the former All-Pro, Morris said Haynesworth’s fitness isn’t limiting his practice time so far with Tampa Bay.
“Albert looked good day two. It was a different day without their pads. With the big guys it’s obviously a little bit different, but it was fast. He got his assignments. [He] got all that stuff down. [I] didn’t see any critical lineman errors. Didn’t have to stop any plays to get him lined up. So that was all good stuff when you talk about just being in practice. Now you got to look at the tape and check out the technique and see all the stuff [and] how it was and how correct it was.”
When asked about his self-motivation and drive, Morris said he doesn’t plan to deal with Haynesworth any differently than the other 52 players on the active roster.
“I think I say something to them all,” he said. “Motivation with our team is not really that hard to do. These guys are young and hungry. It shouldn’t be that hard for Haynesworth, either. He’s coming into a situation where he’s going to have an opportunity be somewhere and be effective and have an opportunity to play within the scheme. It’ll be less about motivating than it would be about his teammates motivating him and him being motivated to help his team.”
Since Haynesworth was picked up off waivers from New England this week, Morris and general manager Mark Dominik have been quoted as saying they feel he fits more naturally into the Bucs’ defensive scheme as opposed to what the Redskins and Patriots were asking. Haynesworth received his mammoth seven-year, $100-million contract in Washington after seven successful seasons as part of the Tennessee Titans’ 4-3 front.
“Probably a lot more similar than the one he’s been in,” Morris said of Tampa Bay’s plans to have him Haynesworth play McCoy’s three-technique position. “We wanted him to get off [and] we wanted him to do a bunch of things. Be violent. Be disruptive. Some of the [Gerald] McCoy role he can play for us and do some of those things. So probably a lot more similar to what he was doing at Tennessee and what he is going to be asked to do here Tampa than it has been with the last two stops.
“[New England] put a little bit of 4-3 in there for him,” Morris continued. “Obviously he had a chance to go out there and play a little bit and play some time and do some violent disruptive things when he was asked to do those things. Everybody has some bad plays.”
With the Houston Texans coming to town on Sunday afternoon, Morris said Haynesworth’s overall pro experience could be useful in preparing a young unit against an offensive line notorious for its cut-blocking tactics.
“You can’t simulate it,” Morris said of Houston’s cut blocking. “It’s almost impossible to simulate. It’s kind of like playing option football. You’ve got to get out there and you’ve got to teach them. You’ve got to drill it. [Defensive line coach] Keith Millard did a great [and] nice job teaching them how to keep their hands down and stand on their feet. [He] talked about the importance of it right from the beginning of the week; talked about the scheme and talked about them being their best like we mentioned early in this interview.
“Those guys are great at what they do and we’ve got to go out there and be able to compete. It’s been nice to have Albert around to talk about some of that stuff. He played in that division a little bit and had a little bit of experience playing against that type of scheme. So it’s been great for those guys to work together. We have some quicker [and] faster guys that it won’t bother as much. You know Brian Price is quick [and] fast. So hopefully we can stand on our feet and make plays in the backfield and just limit these guys to what they have been able to do so far this season.”